Chapter 14


Quick Reminder: WinWAIS is a shareware WAIS client program that you use to search massive databases of information. Also, WinWAIS does not come on the disk. You'll need to download it from


  1. Launch and configure WinWAIS
  2. Find a source
  3. Ask a specific question

Launch and Configure WinWAIS

  1. Make sure you are connected to the Internet -- connect with NetManage's Custom.
  2. Double-click on the EINet WinWAIS icon.

    WinWAIS launches and displays its shareware dialog. You can find out the details of the shareware agreement by clicking on the Shareware Info button, or you can click on the Not Yet button to actually use the program. Do not click on the Register button unless you've paid your shareware fee and need to register your copy.

  3. Select New Question from the File menu and WinWAIS opens an Unnamed Question and brings up the source selection dialog. You should see at least two sources, Directory of Servers at Thinking Machines and EINet Shareware. Double-click on Directory of Servers at Thinking Machines so that it appears in the right-hand scrolling list (see figure 14.15).
  4. Figure 14.15: WinWAIS Select Sources dialog.

  5. Click on the OK button to dismiss the source selection dialog.

    You can now see the Unnamed Question window with the Directory of Servers source selected (see figure 14.16).

  6. Figure 14.16: WinWAIS question window.

  7. From the Edit menu, choose Preferences. Select Directory of Servers at Thinking Machines as the default source by choosing it from the Default Source drop-down listbox. Click on the OK button to dismiss the dialog (see figure 14.17).
  8. Figure 14.17: WinWAIS User Preferences dialog.

  9. Click on the OK button to save your changes and dismiss the Preferences dialog.
Although you may wish to experiment with some of the other options in the Preferences dialog, that's about all there is to setting up WinWAIS.

Find a Source

  1. Back at the Unnamed Question window, type Congress in the Tell Me about field. Click on the Ask button to send your question to the WAIS Directory of Servers at Thinking Machines.
  2. WinWAIS reports in its Status field that it is searching the Directory of Servers at Thinking Machines and initializing the connection. Then, it tells you how many sources it found for you (see figure 14.18).
  3. Figure 14.18: Finding Congress sources.

  4. Double-click on US-Congress-Phone-Fax.src, which should be the second entry in the list.

    WinWAIS brings up the description of the source, which tells you that US-Congress-Phone-Fax.src contains telephone and fax information for members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Select the "Save, but don't select this source" option and then click on "Yes, Save this Source" to add it to your list of sources (see figure 14.19).

Figure 14.19: WinWAIS Source Description.

Ask a Specific Question

  1. From the File menu, choose New Question.

    WinWAIS opens another window called Select WAIS Sources.

  2. Double-click on the US-Congress-Phone-Fax to move it to the right-hand list by clicking the Select(?) button. Click on the OK button to dismiss the dialog.
  3. In the Tell Me about field, type Newt Gingrich and then click the Ask button.

    WinWAIS searches the US-Congress-Phone-Fax source and finds a single item (see figure 14.20).

  4. Figure 14.20: Asking about Newt Gingrich.

  5. Double-click on the first item in the list to view it in a text window.

    You can save the text in the window, copy it and paste it into another application, perform a Find within it (if there's a lot of text, that's often a useful feature), or use it as relevance feedback (see figure 14.21).

  6. Figure 14.21: The answer to the question.

  7. From the File menu, choose Exit to exit WinWAIS. If you wish, disconnect from the Internet.
That's all there is to asking a basic question of WAIS, although in practice you may find it a bit more difficult to properly phrase a question to get the results you want. It may also take some work to find the proper source to search.